posted on 19th Sep 2023 08:06
Innofreight technology in various forms is already commonly present on Czech (and Slovak) railways, under development of the Czech subsidiary Innofreight Czech. However the latter also covers the expansion of this technology to Poland.
Partly this is a natural development, when many of the transports in question take place right between Poland and the Czech Republic, or beyond, but partly these are also transports purely within Poland or in even more distant areas, as was the case with the transport of coal from Lithuania to Poland earlier this year.
Wood is transported by the Smart GigaWood system in different directions. For a long time, the voluminous transport flow has been represented by transports from the port of Gdańsk for the Mondi Štětí plant, in cooperation with the Czech trading company Wood & Paper, with which Innofreight in the Czech Republic has been cooperating for a long time.
In Gdańsk, a transshipment terminal was set up for this purpose, put into use in August 2022, in which the wood (originating from Scandinavia) is stored after being unloaded from the ship and then transferred to trains. Currently about 4 - 5 block trains, consisting of 17 90-foot InnoWaggons loaded with an average of 1,900 m³ of wood, are then sent to Hněvice (which is the connecting station for the mentioned plant). The rakes's turnaround time is seven days.
As a result of various business relationships, some plants of the metallurgical industry also take steel slabs from remote locations. In one such case, they are currently being transported from the port of Gdynia to the ArcelorMittal group plant in the Polish city of Dąbrowa Górnicza on 80-foot InnoWaggon sets using P20 steel pallets. For the current regular transports, two pallets were left on each section of the car, as this is sufficient for the length of the transported slabs. This then enables a loading weight of up to 147.1 t for the entire 80-foot articulated InnoWaggon. The actual payload depends on the specific product and is around 145 t.
Slabs are currently also transported in this form from Medyka near the Ukrainian-Polish border to Italy, on the route through the Czech Republic and Austria. Two rakes are used for this transport contracton. In Břeclav, the trains are divided into two equal halves for the rest of the journey. Depending on the customer's request, the rakes are occasionally loaded in the opposite direction too, by transporting bundles of thick-walled metal sheets to Ukraine.
These transports between Poland and Italy are organized by InnoSped, a subsidiary of the Innofreight group. Haulage in Poland is provided by Rail STM company (which also applies to transports to Dąbrowa Górnicza), which, when using its Dragon 2 locomotive, is able to transport such heavy trains in flat Poland. In the Czech Republic and Austria, the carrier is ČD Cargo, and in Italy InRail.
The rakes are supposed to be extended from 20 to 22 80-foot InnoWaggons. This will achieve loading of around 2,700 t of goods with a total train weight of around 3,500 t. However the latest two trains dispatched around mid of September were even shorter and routed from Břeclav via Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia on account of unsufficient infrastructure capacity in Italy on the route via Tarvisio, resulting in unability to get the train path, this being quite typical issue on this border crossing.
From October 2022 to March 2023, different versions of Innofreight containers were used to transport bulk substrates between che Ukrainian-Polish border and the port of Świnoujście. Pig iron and iron ore were transported westbound, coal in the opposite direction. In the scope of such and other transports, Innofreight develops cooperation with port operators OT Port Świnoujście and Bulk Cargo - Port Szczecin.
As an alternative to transport in traditional hoppers, Innofreight has developed GrainTainer. It is a 20-foot container with three hoppers, the interior is constructed similarly to hoppers, with a sloping bottom towards both ends, where there are three flaps on both sides. The tare weight of the GrainTainer is 3.6 t, the maximum gross weight 36.0 t, but in reality the loading volume of 33 m³ is more decisive on account of the metric weight of grain - in the case of the test loading in Lithuania captured in the photo, 23 t of goods was loaded in one GrainTainer.
It was a test loading that took place in July this year. Then the GrainTainers were transported to Klaipėda port for unloading. LTG Cargo is testing the possibility of using them as replacements for hoppers, for which spare parts, previously imported from Russia, are beginning to be missing. An alternative would be a wider variant of this container that would fully utilize the loading gauge on the 1,520 mm gauge tracks.
Innofreight is negotiating with KLASCO (Klaipėda Stevedoring Company), the operator of the largest cargo terminal in the Klaipėda port area, about the possibilities of transshipment of other commodities, for example fertilizers, diesel or construction material. At present, this main Lithuanian port is also of strategic importance for the transport of goods from/to Ukraine, for which the Innofreight means of transport could be beneficial thanks to easier overcoming of the gauge change compared to transport in standard wagons.
After last year's trial transport of wire rolls from the Liberty Ostrava steelworks to the Železárny-Annahütte plant, Prostějov, this year at the turn of June and July, a trial transport took place there again, but this time from the ArcelorMittal Poland Sosnowiec steelworks, as the Liberty Ostrava steelworks ceased their production. This happened as a result of the increase in production costs, reflected in the price increase, which led to a decrease in the interest of customers and their diversion to other suppliers. Many of them do not have a railway siding, so some transport has switched from rail to road.
There is also a trial shipment to ESAB, Vamberk, a manufacturer of welding and cutting equipment, in preparation. For this purpose, a superstructure system called Wire Stanchion is used, representing another adaptation of transport pallets optimized for this purpose, with high stanchions - rolls of wire can thus be placed in two layers, as shown in the photo. The superstructures are attached to the 90-foot InnoWaggon and, when loaded at 22.5 t per axle, allow a total payload of up to 141 t, in reality it depends on the product range.